After years of fighting for its right to own part of Philadelphia’s proposed Stadium Casino, Parx Casino owner Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment has sold its interest in the project to partner Cordish Companies.
The partners originally made plans to open the city’s second casino in South Philadelphia’s stadium district in the first quarter of 2018. However, a legal battle regarding casino ownership laws in PA forced delays.
Greenwood principal Watche “Bob” Manoukian’s ownership interest in Parx and the new project actually represented a breach of limited casino ownership laws in PA. Then legislators simply changed that law to accommodate the situation.
Philadelphia’s only other casino property, SugarHouse, ultimately dropped its appeal of the project’s gaming license. Greenwood and Cordish began tearing down the Packer Avenue Holiday Inn on the proposed construction site this year.
Part of the hotel the Cordish-Greenwood partnership paid $37 million for did come down. However, work stopped a little over a month ago with the partially torn-down hotel still standing.
Construction of the $600 million casino and entertainment complex appeared to be delayed even further. Then, rumors began circulating the casino license and the proposed project itself was up for sale.
Cordish buying out Greenwood
This week, Maryland-based Cordish finally announced plans to buy out Greenwood’s interest in the project and move forward on its own.
Before construction had even started, the Cordish-Greenwood partnership, officially Stadium Casino LLC, also won the right to open a mini-casino in Westmoreland County. Cordish has confirmed it will now take over full ownership of that project as well.
Joe Weinberg, the managing member of what is now being referred to as Stadium Casino Baltimore Investors LLC, confirmed all this in a statement:
“We at Cordish are excited to now immediately get to work on constructing and opening two first-class casinos for Pennsylvania, which will create thousands of new, quality jobs for local residents, and hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes for the Commonwealth.”
Of course, the company has not disclosed financial terms of the deal.
The Stadium Casino plan
The latest plan remains the building of a casino and hotel complex just a stone’s throw from where all four of Philadelphia’s major sports teams play. It will reportedly include:
- A 200-plus room hotel
- Five restaurants
- Parking garage
The casino itself will feature 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games.
After resolving the ownership issue, Stadium Casino LLC said its plan was to open in 2020. However, the organization recently asked the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to approve a three-year extension on its deadline to launch, pushing it to December 2021.
Regulators responded by granting the project a two-year extension, until Dec. 12, 2020. PGCB staff claim that’s more than enough time to get slot machines on the property operating and generating revenue.
Stadium officials also asked the Board to approve a corporate restructuring. Now it appears that restructuring will see Cordish go it alone.
Cordish successfully opened the Maryland Live! casino near Baltimore in 2012. It opened a hotel linked to the casino this summer.
Too late to turn back now
Despite all the delays and the restructuring, there is very little chance of Cordish dropping any of its PA plans.
Stadium Casino LLC has paid $74.5 million in slot-machine and table-games licensing fees. Plus, it shelled out $40.1 million to obtain its mini-casino license.
The company has also applied for a PA online gambling license. With more than $150 million invested in these PA casino projects already, it’s likely too late to turn back now.